InterExchange Working Abroad Ambassador Allie, Au Pair Australia
My first weekend in Adelaide was a little more eventful and I began to get more comfortable. The weekend came, and I really just wanted to catch up on sleep that still had not been gained back from jet lag. However, I forced myself to get out of the house to go exploring. I was nervous about going out because I am one that gets easily lost.
However, Google Maps has become my newest friend, along with overseas help from Dan. I was feeling confident that first Saturday, and tried to find my way to the nearest Catholic church (It's Holy Cross on Goodwood Road if anyone is wondering), and then to the children's schools. I found the church almost immediately (thanks Google!), and then proceeded to head in the direction that I believed the children's school to be in.
I was a little impressed with myself for finding the church so quickly without getting lost and I got a bit cocky. I did not look up the address for the schools because I was so sure I knew where I was going. I didn't. I walked for about thirty minutes in an unknown area before hitting a Big W. For those of you unfamiliar with the stores, a Big W is equivalent to a tiny Wal-mart. Same format, but everything is more expensive and there isn't as much of a selection.
Anyways, I needed to get some necessities so it wasn't a complete loss. I made my purchase (plus the cost of a bag because plastic bags are not allowed here - Australia's very green) and headed back the way I came. Overall it was a good morning adventure, and I felt a little more familiar with the area. Turns out the schools were the complete opposite direction...who knew?
The next morning, I got a little more adventurous. I made the brave decision of using public transportation. Now, when I was in Sydney, I could not figure out the system. It was overwhelming, terrifying and I was pretty confident I would have ended up in a bad part of town if I had used it. However, with a little encouragement from Dan and my host family, and the knowledge that eventually I was going to have to face it, I decided to use the tram. It was so easy. You get on, pay for your ticket from the ticket guy (or you luck out and don't have to pay your first time. I mean, I may have illegally ridden the first time, but whatever, don't tell), and then you ride until your destination.
Simple, simple, simple. My first stop was Victoria Square. I wanted to go see the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral. It was well worth the travel. The church was beautiful, the homily from the pastor was meaningful, and I saw an old Australian man tell a young man who lit one too many candles that he would go to hell for it. Pretty good trip if I do say so myself.
From there I went exploring around the area, which has mainly Asian influences. It was kind of like a tiny Chinatown, all based around a giant central market. I tried to go into the central market, but it was soo terrifying with everyone yelling out prices that I turned immediately around and got back on the tram. I decided, instead, to go to Rundle Mall. Rundle Mall is a really neat little shopping mall, with stores outside and inside. I walked around for a while, exploring the classic tourist items such as Kangaroo scrotums and Emu Jerky (really?), got a good look at the famous Rundle Mall pig sculptures, and headed back home.
My weekend, when I got back home, had one more adventure waiting for me. It was the thing I had been dreading all week long…driving lessons. I was so scared to drive on the opposite side of the road, but I had to learn. You might think, oh it's not so bad. It's just the opposite side. No. You're wrong. First, I had to learn in the giant minivan. Second, let's add in an excruciatingly narrow drive way. Third, let's reverse which sides your windshield wipers and turn signals are on. Fourth, let's also reverse the direction you move the turn signal for signaling left and right. Really, the opposite side wasn't the hard part. It was all the other factors. However, because I'm awesome, I nailed my first lesson. I didn't crash, or hit anyone or break down in tears. It was good. Later I did end up scratching the front of the minivan, but that's another story (totally not my fault).
It was a great first weekend, and I was proud of myself for forcing myself to get out and explore. I had a blast exploring the city, and I look forward to exploring more in the future!